Japanese architect Shigeru Ban has transformed thousands of empty eye shadow containers into a glistening wave for the Venice Biennale. Entitled “Reverberation- Pavilion of Light and Sound,” the piece upcycles 90,000 black containers from cosmetics company Shiseido. The sparkling installation adds a sleek modern infusion to the Palazzo Pisani, a historic landmark built in 1603.
Taking over the palazzo’s open-air courtyard, the installation sweeps through the space like a cresting wave, fully extending to either side of the courtyard. The piece divides the space into a small observation lane on either side of the wave, and a covered underside. At the base of the wave, the makeup palettes are submerged in a line of water, which further reflect sunlight, and pay homage to Venice’s iconic canals outside the palazzo.
Stretching nine meters skyward in the central courtyard, the arc is strengthened by sheets of acrylic which allow the sunlight to permeate through the interior. Staggered like tiles, Shigeru Ban affixed the square-shaped makeup palettes from Shiseido in a panel of grids, spaced apart with 9 millimeter gaps that allow the light to shine through to the underside. With the screen of makeup cases, the light in the interior is diffused, also creating an area of shade to keep visitors cooler during the hot Italian days.
“Reverberation- Pavilion of Light and Sound” was designed by Shigeru Ban as a promotional installation for Shiseido, and was open to Biennale visitors for two days at the start of the festival.